by Kevin O'Brien
The Portable One SX-N7350 is a compact 13.3" notebook built on the Clevo M735T platform. It offers a professional design that could be easily passed off as a business notebook, with a very durable chassis to hold up to the rigors of day-to-day abuse. Inside the notebook packs a glossy LED-backlit display and power-efficient Intel X4500HD integrated graphics. Read our full review to find out more about this notebook and if it deserves a spot on your lap.
Our Portable One SX-N7350 Configuration:
Build and Design
The Portable One SX-N7350 has a very basic exterior look with a rough matte plastic screen cover trimmed by a smooth black and silver trim piece on the top edge. Compared to most notebooks, this top cover is almost perfectly flat, no beveled or smoothed edges; just rounded corners. The plastic inside transitions to a machined metal plate that extends from the top edge around the keyboard, all the way down to the palmrest. The borders of the plate are machined down past the top anodized layer, giving a clean mirror-like finish. Everything about the design of this laptop is simple and elegant.
Build quality is excellent, holding its own against many popular business notebooks. The flat plastic screen cover is very rigid, withstanding strong impacts and flexing without showing any signs of distortion on the display. The screen hinges seem strong and hold the display shut even with the notebook being held vertically. The plastic body feels very durable, with no creaks or squeaks under normal use. The metal palmrests show no signs of flex when pushing down hard or when holding the notebook by the corner with the screen open. The keyboard tray has some give under hard pressure, but nothing that is noticeable unless you really force it.
The rough matte plastic is great for hiding any fingerprints, smudges, or even scratches. Unlike most glossy finishes which are a magnet any imperfections, plain plastic holds its own against abuse. Business laptops need to hold up to being tossed in airport screen bins, and hide any wear and tear from clients and colleagues.
Users wanting to upgrade this notebook will find it very easy with access panels for the hard drive and other system components. The primary panel houses the processor, RAM, and wireless card, leaving the hard drive to a bay of its own. The hard drive bay is secured with coin screws, making it easy to swap out no matter if you have a penny or a standard flathead screwdriver. None of the user accessible components had "warranty void if removed stickers," including the heatisnk on top of the processor.
Screen and Speakers
The SX-N7350 includes a 16:10 LED-backlit panel, which is becoming rare these days as everyone starts shifting towards 16:9 displays. Colors appear bright and saturated, and black levels look good. Contrast appears to be above average, which is also helped by the glossy screen surface. Backlight brightness levels are more than adequate for bright office conditions, but not quite high enough for comfortable outdoor viewing. Viewing angles were average, with a 15-20 degree vertical sweet spot before colors started to shift. Horizontal viewing angles were much better, staying true even at the steepest angles where you could still see the screen.
The speakers were average compared to smaller business notebooks, with very weak midrange and bass. The bottom-firing speakers get muffled when you have the notebook set on your lap or even a soft surface such as a bed or couch. External speakers or headphones would be an excellent accessory if you really want to enjoy music or movies.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard looks small compared to what we have seen on other 13.3" notebooks. It looks like it might feel at home on an 11" or 12" notebook. Even with its condensed size, it was still very comfortable to type on. Feedback from the keys was excellent; with a precise springy action form each key. Key noise was minimal, with a soft muted click emitted when pressed. Support was above average, with very little flex noticed under strong pressure. The left side of the keyboard did show some give under very heavy pressure, but it was nothing you would notice unless you were pounding your fists on the laptop.
This laptop incorporates a spacious Synaptics touchpad which is very responsive and easy to use. Finger tracking was excellent, with no lag seen even under quick movement. The refresh rate was high enough that when I was spinning the cursor in a circle, the motion felt fluid and not jittery. During the review I found that the preset scroll regions needed to be slightly adjusted, since I kept activating the horizontal scroll bar. This may have been caused by the lack of defined lower edge on the touchpad, or just being used to putting my fingers at a different height on this particular notebook. The touchpad buttons were easy to trigger, giving off a soft click when pressed.
Ports and Features
Port selection seemed average with three USB ports, VGA-out, and audio, LAN and modem jacks. With this being a more performance oriented business style notebook we were hoping to see HDMI or DisplayPort connection to an HDTV or newer projector. This model also includes an ExpressCard/54 slot and SD-card reader for expansion.
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